Saturday, December 20, 2008


And, finally, we have Japan. Um. Depending on how long you've known me, you may not know of my love for sushi. How I can stuff my face with far more sushi than a human is supposed to eat and still want more as long as some is sitting in front of me. All you can eat sushi nights are both the best and the worst, for obvious reasons. I also love ramen. And miso soup.

Miso Soup
Make dashi, drain the tofu. Soften the red miso in a medium bowl by adding 2t of water and blending with a whisk. Gradually ladle the softened miso into the stock pot, while simmering over medium heat. After the miso is disolved, add trefoil stalks, shittake mushrooms, and tofu, and heat thoroughly. Remove from the heat and serve garnished with a little sansho pepper.
Wash the rice at least 3 times, until the water runs clear. Drain the rice in a colander and let it stand for 30 minutes. Cook equal parts rice with equal parts water. Clearly, watch carefully so the rice does not burn! Remove from heat, place a damp towel of rice, and let it cool.
Pour seasoned rice vinegar (rice wine vinegar, sugar and salt) over cooked rice and mix it gently.
Make tetzu - 1c. water and 1T rice wine vinegar. For dipping your hands into, so rice doesn't stick to hands.
Toast nori over light open fire, shiny side down.
Place nori on makisu, with rough-side up. Spread rice, leaving a 1/ in. at the side ear you, and a 3/4 in. at the side furthest from you. Hold the makisu with both hands and carefuly roll it up, wrapping the fillign in the middle, adn rolling away from the side closest to you. Hold the rolled makisu with both hands and squeeze gently to firm the nori-roll. Cut into eight pieces, using a very sharp knife.
Lay rice over nori, then place filling, and roll, pulling tightly toward you as you wrap.
Or make a rice ball in palm of hand, and place shrimp/fish on top.
Lay rice on nori, then flip over, place filling on inside, and roll as above.
Yum. T and I did an amazing job. Aren't his avocado slices beautiful?
Grilled Chicken Skewers with Yakitori Glaze
Mix glaze: soy sauce, mirin, sake, sugar, crushed garlic, sliced giner, water, and cornstarch.
Thread chicken andonions onto water-soaked skewers. Apply glaze.
Grill until done. Baste as necessary. Finish with five spice powder and salt.

Tempura and Ponzu Sauce

Pour rice wine vinegar into a small bowl. Add the sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolvd. Taste for sweetness. Add cilantro, chile, and garlic and mix well. Season with salt and pepper and allow to sit for 10 minutes to 1 hour, for flavors to combine.

Mix the ice-cold water into the flour until the mixture is slightly thicker than buttermilk consistency. Dip slice vegetables (we used zucchini, onions, and eggplant) into the batter mixture and shake offany excess. Deep fry vegetables until the batter are light golden in color and crisp. Turn the vegetables at intervals to ensure that both sides are cooked equally and then remove. Season with salt and eat with Ponzu sauce: lemon juice, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, mirin and lemon zest - bring to a boil, then cool; strain and reserve.

And... grilled steak. Yum.

Lessons Learned:
This only reinforced my love of Japanese foods. I think miso soup is going to make it into my regular rotation. So simple, so good.

And that's it for classes, folks - next step: cooking in the school's restaurant. Cooking for people besides ourselves. Fun! Scary! Guess we'll find out for sure what I think of working the line...

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